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Week 17 Bengals Pro Football Focus grades and analysis

Pro Football Focus sent us their grades and stats for the Bengals' regular season finale win over the Ravens and we've got the breakdown and analysis here!

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals' win over the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17 didn't mean much to the final playoff seeding, but it did give the players confidence and built some momentum as the Bengals prepare to host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Some of the best players this week by Pro Football Focus' standards were: Vontaze Burfict (+4.8), Rey Maualuga (+2.3), Adam Jones (+1.9), Carlos Dunlap (+1.8), and Chris Lewis-Harris (+1.0).


One of the most encouraging performances of the day came from Jeremy Hill (+1.1) who recorded his second positively graded game in a row. His performance against the Ravens was reminiscent of his performance against the Broncos, as he was forced to do a large chunk of his running after the first contact. This week, he picked up 31 of his 96 yards after contact, forcing one missed tackle in the process. That's excellent news heading into the playoffs, as he has had a rough go this season between the goal lines. This year, he is only 18th overall in total yards and 86th in yards per run, despite his league leading 11 rushing touchdowns.

Hill's ability to produce on the ground didn't help AJ McCarron, who graded negatively in the passing game (-1.5). He only attempted two throws beyond 20 yards, and completed only one of them. However, Tyler Eifert (+0.8) helped McCarron a lot. Heading into the playoffs, it was nice to see Eifert out there producing four catches on four targets. One of the four catches went for 21 yards, and another went for 51 yards. He was rested after the half as a precaution, but it is likely that he would have had the top grade on the team this week had he played the full game.

The Bengals' offensive line continued to struggle this week, but the problematic play mainly came from their two most reliable lineman - Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler. Whitworth had his worst day in the passing game (-2.1) since Week 8 of 2011, resulting in a sack, a QB hit, and three QB hurries. Kevin Zeitler had a great day blocking for the pass (+0.9) due to not allowing a single pressure, but he was terrible blocking for the run (-2.0). The Bengals averaged just 3.0 yards running directly to Zeitler's left or right this week, despite averaging 5.4 yards per carry overall. It was the worst graded run blocking performance for Zeitler since Week 1.


Vontaze Burfict (+4.8) looked to be in peak form heading into the playoffs, posting his second highest graded game of his career, and the highest grade of any interior linebacker. Rey Maualuga (+2.3) also had a very good game, but Emmanuel Lamur was lost for the rest of the season with a knee injury. The Bengals will potentially be starting A.J. Hawk in the playoffs as a result.

The Bengals' pass coverage was spotty this week, allowing Ryan Mallett 292 yards and a touchdown in the air (despite two interceptions). Reggie Nelson, in particular, did not look to be on his A-game this week. He allowed three catches on three targets for 42 yards and received his first negative pass coverage grade since Week 11. Adam Jones, on the other hand, had a great game. He didn't allow a single catch on nine targets, but his pass coverage grade (+1.6) didn't look as good as it could have, had he personally defensed any of those passes.

Finally, we end with the defensive line. Carlos Dunlap surprisingly didn't have a sack this week, but he was responsible for six of the team's 12 QB pressures on Mallet, which helped the rest of the team put together three sacks. There's also the matter of his three stops without a single missed tackle in the running game that show just how good of a game he had, despite never bringing down the quarterback. Geno Atkins had a sack, a QB hit, and two tackles for a loss in the running game, which helped him to a fantastic overall grade for the season (+56.6), which ranks second overall among defensive tackles this season behind only the record breaking performance of Aaron Donald (+104.0).

Special Teams

Despite all of the criticism that Brandon Tate gets, he ended the season as the 10th highest graded returner on special teams in the NFL (+7.0). That is only two spots behind Adam Jones, who ranks as the 8th highest (+7.5). The combination of the two, as well as the often forgot about special teams captain, Cedric Peerman, will be vital to the Bengals' hopes to control field position in the playoffs.

Signature Stats

Giovani Bernard was responsible for one of the three sacks on McCarron on Sunday, contributing to a poor overall grade in pass blocking (-0.9). His overall pass blocking grade this season (-5.0) ranks as the worst among all qualified running backs in the NFL. This comes as a result of allowing the most QB pressures of all running backs in the NFL (18) and a very poor pass blocking efficiency rating (85.9 percent), which ranks seventh worst among 64 qualified running backs.